A bathtub, informally also known as a bath or tub is a necessary part of any household. No matter where you live, taking care of your hygiene is a must. Different cultures do this in different ways however, the “western style” bathtubs are rarely used countries like China and Japan. In Japan, these are typically known as “furo” and differ from the bathtubs we are used to.
Furo is usually short and very deep and you use them in a sitting position. They are usually made out of wood and, in the past, were built over furnaces of a sort in order to heat up. The process of bathing was ritualistic in nature and, in a lot of countries in Asia, there is a proper way to bathe according to tradition or religion.
The first plumbing system was found beneath a palace in the Indus Valley Civilization. However, the first surviving bathtub was found on Crete. It was a 5-foot long pedestal bath made out of hardened pottery. The “clawfoot” bathtub was designed with this ancient bathtub as an inspiration. The clawfoot was a model most used when bathing was at the peak if it’s popularity.
The nobles of England made bathing into a fashion thanks to the exquisite design of the clawfoot. The main body of the tub was placed on a pedestal that looked like a claw and had a dragon-like ornament down its entire length. In England, they were mostly made using iron and even copper and tin. It was covered in face paint to make them more appealing.
The clawfoot came in four different styles. Flat rim tubs are the most basic when it comes to shaping. They had no curves on the sides and the bottom was completely flat. Slipper tubs, on the other hand, had a more exotic design. One end was raised and slopped to make for a more comfortable lounging position. Double slipper tubs were a step up from slipper tubs. Both sides were raised and slopped. Finally, double ended tubs were the polar opposite to the flat rimmed ones, with both ends being rounded.
In the 1880s, a Scottish-born inventor named David Buick discovered a process that allowed him to bond porcelain to cast iron. This process mostly stayed the same to this day. The bathtubs David Buick invented, however, were not marketed as bathtubs. Their main selling point was the fact that they were usable as hog scalders.
During the 20th century, the clawfoot was morphed into a built-in tub. This made the bath far easier to maintain and, with the emergence of colored sanitary ware, made them more customizable design-wise.
As time went by, bathtubs became more specialized and more durable. For example, baby bathtubs are a very important invention. They are designed for children that cannot yet sit on their own and makes for bathing them easier and safer. They come in 2 forms: a separate object that needs to be filled with water or as an addition to regular bathtubs which makes them safe for the child.
New parents praise baby tubs because it offers them the safety of bathing a fragile being without fear. Hot tubs, on the other hand, are a tool of luxury. They were made more popular with the “hippy era” and later evolved into whirlpool tubs, also known as spas or jacuzzis. The main innovation of these tubs were air-bleed pumps that let out bubbles into the tub.
Freestanding bathtubs were a popular type of tub because they are portable and were customizable when it comes to design. A part of their popularity came from the fact that they were comparatively small and were easy to store and move when necessary.
During the 90s major companies started making soft tubs. These were made from soft plastic or foam and were coated with a non-slipping coating. Soft tubs were marketed towards children and people with disabilities.
For households, I mostly recommend the classic immovable tubs we see on a daily basis, except if there are elderly or people with disabilities in your family, in which case soft tubs are the way to go. For expanding families a baby tub is recommended. Researching bathtub brands and types will benefit you if you plan on buying one.
There is a general rule when selecting the material. You should also check out brands and their websites to check for reviews and prices, this is an important decision and you will want your tub to last. Unless you get a portable bath, replacing it will cost a lot and will generally be a lot of unnecessary work.
So save yourself the trouble and the stress and just do your research before deciding. If you do sufficient research, however, it will be well worth the time because a good bathtub can last for years.